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Food hates’ over the life course: Food narratives from the UK Mass Observation Archive

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Publication details

DatePublished - 1 Dec 2013
Pages (from-to)137-143
Original languageEnglish


This article presents data from the UK Mass Observation Archive drawn from the 1982 Winter Food Directive, which focuses on memories of childhood food ‘hates’. Through our analysis of these data, we identify three main findings: (a) there is a discrepancy between individual-level and collective aggregate level food hates, which problematises the notion of commensality; (b) a small but powerful ‘outlier’ group of respondents, which we refer to as ‘visceral repulsors’, show relatively extreme reactions to certain foods throughout their lives; and (c) the duration and temporalities of food hates can be used to sketch a rough model of change and continuity of food hates over the life course. Finally, the discussion focuses on the food hate trajectories through the life course, situated in a social context, to explore the implications the findings may have for food and health policy more generally.

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